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SCIENCE UP TO DATE, Issue 15665, 2 December 1914
SCIENCE UP TO DATE
A NEW SCIENCE: ANTHROPOGEOGRA.PHY. CIL [By James Collier.] [.Special Rights Secured by the '.Star.'] Wo have nlrcady told in these oolinnus the story of the rise "oF the New Physiography. II; was the essential preliminary of another science, lying betwen physiography and history. A number of groat or eminent writers —Montesquieu and some obscure predec&s----!«ois, the younger Uumboklt, Buckle, Ritler and his disciple Guyot, Kobl, Rcclus, and'Peschcl—have been its chief pioneers. But its master and founder was the lat© Friodricli Ratzel, who was well known to sociologists in the United States, but almost unJtnown •elsewhere, and scarcely a. popular writer even in his own country. To read his masterpiece is bard, even for a German, and to translate it literally has been found impracticable. An interpreter between the German and the British minds, near of ldn though they bo, has always been necessary. Not till well on in the seventies were tbe abstruse metaphysical treatises of Kant and Hegel first made plain for the English reader. Now an American lady, Ellen Churchill Semple, of Louisville, Kentucky, has successfully mediated between her friend and teacher, .RatiQl, and bis foreign students, and. founding on his great work, has both lucidly expounded his brilliant generalisations and original views, and adduced' in support of tbem observations and proofs from the writings of historians, geographers, ami; sociographers in many countries. MAN AND HIS DWELLING-PLACE .Man. that "little pod of earth," as Goethe called ,him, is long ir« child, its subject, its slave. He is born of its clay. Ho cannot be studied apart from it, and with it his relations grow ever more numerous and complex. Its action upon him is inoessant and persistent, as Bucklo has sliowu. When the environment is changed: by his agency, he powerfully* reacts on it, as George P. Marsh has shown. The remoteness of this unchanging clement has a strong influence on the history of a country, as is seen in the revolt, of the: British-American colonies, the ecclesiastical independence of Protestant Britain, and of Catholicism in North America, and the late colonisation of Australia and New Zealand. Geographical proximity has equally visible effects, as in the semi-Asiatic character of the Greeks and Greek culture. Natural bairicrs have potent effects, and raise insuperable, obstacles. Thus, the gigantic muss ot the -Carpathians divided the advancing hosts of the Slavonians, and checked the westward-moving tides of the Tartars. NATURE-MADE ROUTES. Natural highways form channels of conquest, migration, and colonisation. The maritime plain of Palestine has been a great natural route of commerce and invasion from Sennacherib to Napoleon. The valley of the Danube has opened up Europe to floods of biirbarian invaders. A largo part of the history of North America has gathered around such depressions in mountain ranges. Tbe early Aryans thus spread over India, and the later Hindus thus found commercial pathyvays. REGIONAL IDENTITIES. Similar regions exert similar influences. Islands all over the world develop a, peculiar type of civilsation. Steppes and deserts breed tribes of wandering hordsmen and emit invading hordes, who ever remain pastoral nomads. The environment operates in the same manner now as it did 20 or 30 centuries ago. Climatic influences are equally persistent and uniform in their effects. Egypt, •'Siberia, and the tropics are colonised now, as in olden days they wore settled, only by means of assimilation and hybridisation. GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY. Hence geography, as Kant said, lies at the base of history. With equal point Ratzel defines history as a succession of geographical factors embodied in events. As felicitously Herder said that history is geography set going. A fact of geography io-day will be to-morrow a fact of history. The. two sciences must bo blended. Not that the alliance of the two is a now thing. But it lias been ill made. Hasty generalisations, superficial and inaccurate principles, an insufficient collection of facts, and rash statements hare discredited the science here outlined. EVOLUTION AND GEOGRAPHY, [ Evolution stamps its impress on the science of authi-opogeograpby as on all others. "With every expansion in the history of a country its geographical relations expand. Small countries flourish for a while, and then lose their ascendancy. Countries with an extensive area are mastered byi it, like Russia, but as they fill up, like Russia, they become an irresistible force. Greeks and Assyrians play a lesser part in the yvorld, England and Japan a far gwnt-er, because their world relations extend and increase. The foci of such relations have shifted from the ./Eg can to the Mediterranean, thence to the Atlantic, as they may, one not distant day, pass to. the Pacific." Tbe Interplay of geographic factors accounts for very much in Mm history of a country. Seven of theso explain three-fourths or luiic-ieuths of Russia u history. The elementary theorem of the composition of forces may bo here applied. Land and sea co-operate. Phoenicia and Greece. Holland and England live or lived under physical conditions that drew them in tho same direction. Sea and land aro sometimes opposed, as in Palestine and France, Virginia and Maryland. Or the two antagonist forces may be both of the land, jij? is shown in the history of Switzerland. Geographical factor* may be local, as climate, soil, relief, location, highways, and boundaries, but the history of a country may be powerfully influenced, by remote factors. The drying up of the soil of Western Asia contributed to the downfall of Rome and the peopling of Europe. The invasion of Europe by the Turks 'affected the various European peoples successively. THEORY AND PRACTICE. Tho> hasty generalisations of Montesquieu and Buckle are' no longer accepted. The lines and complexions of the history of India and of Greece are not now ascribed by scientific geographers to tho direct effects of cliraato. Isolation in the one case and accessibility in the other better account for the facts. High mountains, vast swamps, and an unbroken shore lino have produced the isolation, and this has given rise to ignorance, superstition, and the prematura crystallisation of thought and custom, the ossification of the reason, and the preponderance of imagination. On the other hand, the central and appropriate situation of Greece trained tho superior Greek; hite-llccti to produce its niasl/crpicces and to dominate the Mediterranean. ENVIRONMENT AND ART. Yet the contention of Buckle is correct if it be applied to Europe. Tho Alpine republic and the other Alpine lands axe comparatively barren <yve must not exaggerato the deficiency) of high literature and artistic products, yvhile ihe. lower-lying countries of Swabia, Franconia, and Thuringia, with their milder climate and -gentler aspects, favor tho growth of the poetic and imaginative faculties. A like contrast is observable between the plateau of Auvergne,' the highlands of Savoy, alpine Provence, and the bleak Province of Brittany on the one hand, and the fluvial valleys and plains of the French lowlands. But again we must not exaggerate the deficiency. Chateaubriand, Lamennais, and Kenan aro the offspring of Celtic Brittany. In these tbe effects of climate and Boil are counteracted by the effects of race and eociai surroundings. ENVIRONMENT AND RACE. Mountainous regions influence the beliefs and repress! genius, through the manner of living they impose. Life is hard up there in the snows or the bleak yvinds, the stiff, unmallcablo soil, and the consequent anxiety and poverty, and because they isolate and confine the dyvellcrs. The inhabitants of the viver valleys acquire wealth, and, with it, leisure and freedom of mind. Idea!; and works of art and the discoveries of science arc as freely exchanged and communicated .as commodities. There is no direct action of the environment. The mountains and the valleys have contrasted economic and social effects, and these effect* have secondary results. The alluvia] vaUeys are rich in genius and poetry because- there the* life is free, and human nature has'abundant scope. Mountainous regions are barren of genius and art because thero growth is stunted and activity repressed. Geographical causes act, not directly, but through social and economic media. ENVIRONMENT A.KD COLONIES. The fTowth _ of colonies illustrate* the same law It is not the harsh climate that sharpens and hardens the features, the voice, ■and tho manners of the New Englamter, bub his alertness of mind and passion for suc«ss. It is not. a genial or a temperate climate that quicken* the' rate of social progress in Australia and Now Zealand, but tho absence of poverty and the abundance of wealth, the greater comfort and the freer life. The environment and; olimato aid in creating these, and these, again, give birth to art and poetry, science, literature, and philosophy. But these are no» the only factors of betterment. The new environment may favor selection. Picked jatombcra of a xaco emirate, and carry their physical and wreaktal superiorities to their new homey Heredity, combined with more or leas strict isolation from the indigenes, passed! them on. These superiorities are in time pom&HiD> cated to- <a whole- *ni.ianfc-j*Bte,
Bi-auiod in u. All these new conditions tend to esert a profound olt'eci. on national character. A new variety or a new social type is brod, and this may amount to " a social rejuvenation of lh" race." The Canadian and South African, the JCcw Zealand and Australian types have strongly marked char- ■ actors, and thoy show how deep may bo the influence of geofn-aphica 1 factors that act. indirectly. In the Ts'orth American Civil War the Northern States were mainly opposed to the -perpetuation of slavery, because neßToes do not usuallj- thrive in the , temperate zone, and the South was mainly pro-slavery because negroes are suited to growing- cotton and sugar-cano. Mountainous West Virginia was against the war because sieve labor thero did not pay, while the hot coastal lowlands fostered slave industry. ENVIRONMENT AND EVOLUTION. The element of time affects man's rolaiion to his environment. Human beings aro what they are because the environment is —not what it ia. but—what it was. Inherited aptitudes and tribal customs survivo in a people longr after their original utilities have disappeared. The Hebrews once led a nomodic, pastoral lifo in Mesopotamia, and the relics of that life still showed centuries after they had settled in Palestine in their pontics! organisation and soolal usages, their ritusl «nd their literature. So does the farback pastoral life of the Turk influence his present-day habiti. So was it with th<> Saracens in Spain. INEFFECTIV.F, RNATRONMBNT. If the physical environment gives rise to much in the institutions of a country> it also leaves much unexplained. The dense forests of Gormany engendered a. variega.w<l polytheism, but the Germans were induced to accept Semitic monotheism. The Arianism of the Goths in Spain in the rixth and later centuries owed nothing to its immediate surroundings, but was derived from distant peoples. Yet observe the effects of grand or lovely sites—the Hellenistic religion*. INDIRECT!" EFPKCTS. Remote geographical influences affect the now economio and social activities of a migrating people, and thus indirectly modify national characters. When thinkers so comparatively recent as Montesquieu and Buckle ascribe the character of a. population to the direct action of the environment, we need not marvel that an ancient geographer like Stnibo should h:ivc attributed the national characters of the various Greek peoples sometimes to the environment, sometimes to education and institutions. lie denies th:i.t their various euvironmeuU had ought to do in making the Athenians cultured and the Spartans and Thebans uncultivated, awl asserts that it was their superior education and better institutions that made the Babylonians and Egyptians eciontific. Ho does not take into "account the infhf&jco that the environment had on the social and economic conditions, and, through them, on the culture, institutions, and dominant intellectual aptitudes of these peoples. Yet other ancient thinkers, mich as Plutarch, could perceive that social types were correlated with ths physical types of country. Modern thinkers thus explain the attitude of New England towards the war of 1812 by adducing its rugged fliid dangerous coastline and unproductive soil, which impeded agriculture and favored maritime commerce. The effects of an alien environment and of a partial I response to the environment remain to be ' described, but the patience of our readers ' must now be exhausted. !
SCIENCE UP TO DATE, Issue 15665, 2 December 1914
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